The Morgan County Council has made moves to have the Utah State Second District Court take over funding and administration of its Morgan County location. Now, the county will not have to pay for an employee to function as the Second District Court clerk in the county clerk’s office.
The district court will now be seeking to lease office space in the county and handle security issues so its clerk will be available five days a week to accept payment and file court cases despite the county’s four-day work week.
The council discussed the issue at its last July meeting, where the council was at a stalemate in its voting. Some council members were concerned they were breaching their contract requiring the court be open five days a week, while others didn’t want to turn administration over to the state in fear it may mean an employee would be replaced with a kiosk.
Since, Morgan County Attorney Jann Farris talked to the presiding judge, who assured that kiosks and telephone hotlines were not the future of the Second District Court in Morgan.
“They will have a body there five days each week. In their opinion, open means a body, not a kiosk,” Farris said. “As long as they have an office and key to the building, they will take care of the Friday issue.” Morgan County offices are closed on Fridays but the state operates on a five-workday week.
Some council members are worried the county doesn’t have room for a court clerk in its already cramped office space. Currently there is one court clerk working inside the county clerk’s office. When the district court takes over administration, it plans to have two employees instead of one.
If the space cannot be found in the county offices, the district court may have to seek office space somewhere else in the county.
“It would be advantageous to have the clerk in the courthouse,” said Councilman Austin Turner.
Some council members are still wary of the council’s decision.
“In the future we are going to regret not having any involvement in the court,” said Councilman Ned Mecham, one of two council members to vote against the change.
“I like the idea of having some say in the program,” said Councilman Robert Kilmer.